JoinCan You Be A Convicted Felon And Join The...

Can You Be A Convicted Felon And Join The Military


Moral Standard For Enlisting

Convicted Felon Wants To Join Army

In order to join the military, candidates must meet a certain criteria. The law classifies felonies as offenses of moral turpitude. However, the army will still consider applications on an individual basis. In other words, there arent any general rules that prevent felons from enlisting . First of all, during the interview, recruiters ask applicants about their criminal history. After that, they conduct a background check. If the applicant is a convicted felon, the army will consider several factors.

In short, the military wants to avoid hiring people that have disciplinary problems, pose a security threat, or otherwise disrupt the activities and morale of the armed forces. This is not to say that felons are automatically excluded. Instead, the recruitment process determines whether a convict learned from their past, became a better person, and therefore meets the militarys moral standards. To further illustrate, here is an example. A felon that is guilty of a violent crime or weapons violation must show that they dont pose a security threat, especially when they apply for a job that requires them to handle firearms and guns. To do so, the felon would highlight that they finished their sentence, attained a new job, and regularly engaged with society without causing any threats or harm.

Do Military Bases Do Any Background Check

The federal government is concerned about potential security threats on all military bases in the entire United States, which you might also expect. If you are however arriving at a military base without a valid REAL ID or other state-approved ID, you would be directed to the visitor center, and you might have to undergo a criminal background check.

For sure, you will be denied access to the military base if you have a criminal record.

You will instantly be taken into custody and may also need legal counsel provided you have an active warrant outstanding. Additionally, you would be subjected to legal Action if you provide false information regarding your background and this is discovered. It can be expected that standard background will be conducted at the time of entry to the base.

Can I Join The Military If I Have A Felony Conviction

Its possible to join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard with a felony conviction.

With that said, it is an uphill battle.

In general, the 5 branches of the military are looking for candidates with a sound moral character.

Often, a felony is looked at as a failure to meet that standard.

As discussed earlier, whether or not you can join the military with a felony conviction really depends on several factors.

They include:

  • What your felony conviction was for.
  • If you are currently on parole or probation.
  • If youre currently in jail, prison, or facing criminal proceedings.
  • Whether or not your felony conviction was as a minor or legal adult.
  • Your moral history
  • The current needs of the military.

Lets discuss some of these individually to get an idea of what is an enlistment killer and what isnt.

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What Happens If You Have A Felony Conviction In Michigan

If a license has already been obtained, a felony conviction will result in the owner losing the license, resulting in job loss. In most cases, a criminal conviction prevents a person from enlisting in the military. Criminal convictions in Michigan can be revoked or vacated under certain circumstances.

What Your Felony Conviction Was For

Can a Felon Join The Military in 2021? Everything You Need to Know

There are certain crimes and circumstances that, no matter how you go about it, are just not acceptable to the US military.

For these crimes, there is no waiver process or exceptions.

You simply cannot join the military if you committed these offenses.

The crimes vary depending on the branch of service youre looking to join, but heres a short list of some felony offenses that will not receive a waiver:

  • Civil conviction of a serious offense with 3 or more other offenses.
  • A conviction for the sale, distribution, or trafficking of a controlled substance
  • 3 or more DUI/DWI convictions within the last 5 years
  • Positive alcohol/drug test at the time of military application
  • Arson, embezzlement, extortion, grand theft, involuntary manslaughter, rape, or other sex crimes

Again, this all depends on what branch of the military youre looking to join.

For example, if youre thinking about joining the Air Force, but have a felony DUI conviction, you likely wont get in.

However, if you have a DUI on your record, the Marines will take you.

If youre unsure as to whether or not your felony conviction is grounds for dismissal from consideration of joining the military, its best to speak with a lawyer or recruiter to get the full details.

Find A Lawyer Near You

Contact A Recruiter

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What Is A Felony Waiver And When Is It Applied

Strictly speaking, felons are not eligible to serve in any of the US Armed Forces branches. However, this doesnt mean that felons will not be enlisted in the Armed Forces.

This is done via a felony waiver. A felony waiver is a special permission granted to applicants with a criminal record.

Some offenses can be waived, while others cannot. Recruiting officers themselves do not have the authority for waiving. Some waivers may be approved or disapproved by the Recruiting Battalion Commander. Others need to be reviewed by the Commanding General of the Army Recruiting Command.

However, if your criminal offense can be waived, it doesnt necessarily mean that you will be accepted into the US military.

As an applicant and a felon, it would be your responsibility to prove to the authorities that youve overcome the disqualifications for enlistment and that youve been able to reintegrate with society. In addition, you would need to prove that your acceptance is in the best interests of the Armed Forces.

Again, if your offense can be waived, it doesnt mean that it will be waived. Among the factors that may be considered during the review of your application are:

Lying And Fraudulent Enlistment

Some may lie about their history to a recruiter. And some may even get away with the lie long enough to be given a slot in basic training and beyond. But those who think theyve succeeded in these instances often do not realize that they can be punished for fraudulent enlistment long after basic training is complete.

Fraudulent enlistment is listed under Article 83 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is punishable by dishonorable discharge, and up to two years of confinement.

How is fraudulent enlistment detected? It depends on the deception. In cases where a military member lied about their physical condition and the deception is later uncovered through a physical exam or other means, it may be reported via military medicine channels. In cases where someone lied about a criminal record and later requires a background investigation for a security clearance, the vetting process may reveal the fraudulent enlistment.

However it is uncovered, the punishment may vary depending on the nature, severity, and visibility of the issuethe process requires actions at varying levels of the chain of command up to and including your base or area commander depending on circumstances.

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Be Truthful About Your Criminal Record

When enlisting in the Army, you will be asked, Have you ever been charged, cited, arrested, fined, or held in custody by a law enforcement agency or official? so, how should you answer when you have something on your record?

Whatever is on your record, make sure to not lie about it the Armys background check will reveal the truth. Lying about your record is one of the quickest ways to be denied or even charged with a new crime. Instead, be truthful with the Army about what is on your record, regardless of whether your convictions have been expunged, sealed, vacated, or set-aside by the courts. It is important that you are completely honest the Army will most likely uncover everything in your criminal history. Army recruiters have heard everything, so do not feel the need to be embarrassed or tempted to leave things out.

Disclose every contact youve had with law enforcement, regardless of whether it shows up on previous background checks. The Army will perform a background check that is likely far more extensive than one youd get in applying for another job, so do not rely on what prior background checks have revealed. Unlike private employers, the U.S. Army uses the Entrance National Agency Check program.

It is important to be as honest and forthright as possible with your Army recruiter. Your recruiter has likely navigated this issue before, and they will typically be supportive in helping you successfully enlist.

What Jobs Can You Get With A Felon

Do You Have a Criminal Record and Want to Join the Military?

Criminals can even scour local department stores looking for a job as a customer service representative. If you are in possession of a driver’s license, you can have the ambition to become a company car driver at a company. Builders, telephone salespeople, and carpenters are other job opportunities for convicted felons.

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Can I Join The Army With A Felony On My Record


For the U.S. Army, a felony conviction can be an enlistment-killer. The Army, like the rest of the military, wants soldiers who meet “moral character standards.” A felony conviction suggests you may not meet the standard. If the military agrees to waive its enlistment standards, felons can join the Army if they meet the other mental and physical requirements.

Criteria For Getting On A Military Base

Getting on a military base for anyone wanting access presents specific criteria. This begins with the type of ID that is required of anyone wanting to enter any military base.

Civilians visiting a military base are required to have a REAL ID from their state or a second form of identification, such as a U.S. passport or a Veterans health ID card, along with their drivers license. Some military bases require everyone in a vehicle to have such an ID while others may only check for a valid ID from the vehicle driver.

If you intend to drive on a military base, you must have a valid drivers license, registration, and vehicle insurance information.

A REAL ID is issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles and resembles a drivers license but has a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. The star indicates that the person has met the identification standards from the Federal REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 as a response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A REAL ID will also permit you to enter nuclear power plants and board commercial aircraft.

If you do not meet these military ID requirements, you will be refused access or must be escorted by a sponsor meeting the requirements.

All states are currently compliant with REAL ID or will be by October 21, 2021, which will allow you access to military bases and other federal facilities.

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Can You Join The Army With A Felony

Many have heard the anecdotal stories of the judge who said, go to prison or join the Army. And while that may have been an option in the Vietnam-era and before, todays US Army believes that your moral character is an important factor in your success as a soldier.

So, can you join the Army with a felony? The answer might surprise you.

What Countries Do Not Allow Them Felons To Enter Mexico

Can a Felon Join The Military in 2021? Everything You Need to Know

These countries: If you have been convicted of a criminal offence, you may be refused entry. Other countries that require a pre-visa are Brazil and India. Good news for Brazil and India, for whom a visa application does not require a criminal record. Therefore, a convicted criminal can travel to one of these countries without fear of being refused entry.

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Do Felons Get Social Security Benefits

The article highlights aspects related to “Do criminals get Social Security?”. In the field of Social Security, offenders are entitled to Social Security benefits, disability benefits, and retirement benefits. However, criminals must pay social security schemes for a certain period of time to receive benefits.

Which Branch Of The Military Is Most Lenient With Felony Convictions

The Army is, in fact, the most lenient when it comes to considering the nature of the crime. Ultimately, the Army is the largest branch and has the most jobs that need to be filled.

It is important to keep in mind that it is possible that the Army could reject you while another branch of the military could accept you into their ranks.

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Can The Military See Expunged Records

Although some employers and landlords may not be able to see your expunged criminal record, the military can. For this reason, it’s essential not to lie or conceal information during your recruitment interview. Even if you’ve had a criminal offense expunged, the military will still find out about it.

If you have an expunged criminal record, you can still enlist. Most branches of the military will require a criminal record waiver.

Criminal Record Waivers

When undergoing the process for military enlistment, the military waives some previous criminal offenses.

Offenses that require you to get a waiver for enlisting in the military

  • Six or more minor traffic violations
  • Juvenile offenses
  • Arrests, citations, charges, or being allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor
  • Pleading guilty for the criminal possession of stolen property
  • Felony

When you’re trying to obtain a waiver for the enlistment process, it’s essential to gather as much documentation to support your claim as possible. In some cases, a letter of recommendation from a community member with good standing or the judge involved in your case can be beneficial. If you’re planning to enlist and you know you have a criminal record, you may want to collect your evidence before you speak with the recruiter. You know they’ll ask about it, so it doesn’t hurt to come prepared.

Every Branch Of The Military Is Different

Convicted felon working as security guard arrested

There are five branches of the United States Military. They include the following:

All five branches of the of the United States military have different specifications regarding the recruiting of felons and people with criminal records. For instance, a Driving Under the Influence conviction would disqualify you from joining the Air Force, but the U.S. Marine Corps may take you.

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The Role Of Felony Waivers

Here, exceptions come in the form of felony waivers. By definition, a felony waiver is a special permission for felons applying to be in the military.

Statistically speaking, the Air Force grants fewer felony waivers than the Army. They are said to be pickier in who they recruit. This also implies that your chance of joining the Army with a felony is higher.

But felony waivers are important in all military branches. You will need them to clean out your records and qualify as an applicant. However, not all offenses can be waived. The likelihood of them being accepted also relies on the demand for military personnel.

Unacceptable Offenses

  • Involves intoxication, drug use, or possession of illicit substances
  • Is currently pending during enrollment
  • Exceeds five misdemeanors before enlistment applications

You cannot serve in the Air Force.

Other problematic offenses are serious civil convictions committed more than three times, theft, rape, and sexual crimes.

A Felony Conviction Can Prevent You From Serving In The Military

On Behalf of The Military Justice Center | Oct 29, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The U.S military provides outstanding employment and training opportunities for those who are enlisted. But, can you join the U.S military if you have a criminal record? Well, that depends on the severity of the crime, the circumstances, and if you were convicted of the charges.

Each branch of the U.S army requires potential recruits to meet rigorous moral character standards, and each must refer to the federal roadmap when reviewing applications with a criminal record.

A felony conviction can ruin your chance of joining the U.S military. However, there are circumstances when the military may relax its enlistment standards so convicted felons can serve the nation.

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Which Offenses Require A Waiver

Offenses that need to and can be waved will depend on the military branch you are going to apply to. However, as a general rule, the following offenses need to be waived:

  • Minor traffic offenses. If youve had six or more minor traffic offenses fined at least $100 per offense, a waiver will be required.
  • Minor non-traffic offenses. If you have had three convictions for minor non-traffic offenses, you will again need a waiver.
  • Juvenile offenses. Juvenile offenses are those that have been committed under the age of 18. Again, keep in mind that you will need to reveal all the offenses committed as a juvenile, including offenses that have been expunged, dismissed, sealed, or pardoned.
  • Misdemeanor crimes. If youve had 2-4 civil convictions or other dispositions qualified as misdemeanors in the Armed Forces, a waiver will be required. A waiver will not be issued if you have four or more civil convictions.
  • DWI/DUI. If convicted for DWI/DUI two or more times, you will need a waiver. A waiting time of 12 months must pass from the date of the conviction for you to receive a waiver.
  • Felony offenses. The US Armed Forces have their own definitions of what constitutes a felony, though they mostly correspond with state definitions. Felonies are the most problematic among recruitment offenses.

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